The fifth installment of the Yuba Lit community reading series on May 19th will feature fiction writer Ernest J. Finney, whose new novella Elevation: 6,040, winner of the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize for 2015, is set in Nevada and Sierra Counties circa 1981.

In the reading Finney will share, the main character, thirteen-year-old Roscoe McAdams, has lived with his parents, Sebastian and Moonstar, in an isolated cabin high on a ridge in California’s northern Sierra. When Moonstar becomes a substitute teacher in a small town and enrolls her kids in school there, everything Roscoe thinks he knows begins to fall apart.

Finney’s four previous novels include Winterchill and Words of My Roaring. His story collection Sequoia Gardens won the Northern California Book Award.

He’ll be joined by Nevada City poet Julie Valin, co-founder of Six Ft. Swells Press, and Grass Valley resident Jane Vancantfort, whose short stories have appeared in The Wi Files and My Morning Story.

In addition to our three featured readers, audience members are invited to bring a page or a poem for our opening flash readings. Any audience member who brings a poem or a page will be given a raffle ticket; five readers will be drawn from the raffle, and given the mike for three minutes each to read their work. The opening flash readings are always a lively highlight of Yuba Lit.

Yuba Lit starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 19th at The Open Book, 671 Maltman Dr., Grass Valley. For this edition the cover will be $10 cover (no one turned away for lack of funds), with 50 percent benefiting the Bear Yuba Land Trust, and 50 percent supporting basic operating costs of Yuba Lit. Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters will offer wine and beer and fresh baked food for sale.

Yuba Lit’s May Readers:

Ernest Finney 01

Ernest J. Finney’s short fiction appears regularly in literary magazines, most recently in Sewanee Review, American Literary Review and Saranac Review, and has been included in a number of anthologies, among them O. Henry Prize Stories, Best of the West, and Best American Mystery Stories, 2011 and 2014. His books include four novels, Winterchill, Lady With the Alligator Purse, Words of My Roaring, and California Time, and three story collections: Birds Landing, Flights in the Heavenlies, and Sequoia
Gardens: California Stories, which received the Northern California Book Award for fiction in 2012. Finney lives and writes in Sierra County.


Nevada City native Julie Valin’s poetry has appeared in Chiron Review, Red Fez, Heavy Bear, and Primal Urge. An editor, book designer, and poet-teacher with California Poets in the Schools, Valin is co-founder and publisher of the celebrated poetry press Six Ft. Swells. Her collection of poems is The Distance Between.

jane v for bio

 Grass Valley resident Jane Vancantfort earned an MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco. Her novel Went Away is available as an ebook. Her short stories have appeared in The Wi Files and My Morning Story, and she wrote a column for the Pacifica Tribune for three years.

A community reading series celebrating great writing in the Sierra foothills, Yuba Lit launched September 2015 with a program featuring novelists Joshua Mohr and Christian Kiefer, and poet Molly Fisk. The second Yuba Lit drew more than 65 audience members to hear readings from novelists Janis Cooke Newman, Louis B. Jones, and Amy Rutten, and the third Yuba Lit drew an equally robust audience for poet Indigo Moor, novelist Josh Weil, and memoirist Cris Mulvey.

Yuba Lit is produced and hosted by Nevada City memoirist and fiction writer Rachel Howard.  If you’d like to volunteer or join our mailing list, please email Rachel at rachel (dot) howard (at) gmail (dot) com.  You can learn more about Rachel at

Thanks to our home venue, The Open Book, and to Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters.  Visit to learn more about the trail building and conservation efforts of the Bear Yuba Land Trust.

Please join us to celebrate great writing in the Sierras at Yuba Lit!

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